Are your thyroid symptoms a sign you need treatment for Hashimoto’s disease? Functional medicine may help

Stock image, St. George News

CONTRIBUTED CONTENT — Do you take thyroid hormone medication for your thyroid problems but still suffer from fatigue, weight gain, hair loss, constipation, depression, cold hands and feet or other symptoms? Has your doctor told you your lab tests are normal and there isn’t anything more to do?

If so, you may respond well to functional medicine for low thyroid problems.

Hypothyroidism, or low thyroid function, affects millions of Americans, most of them women. It’s common for people with thyroid problems to go undiagnosed for years. Those who are diagnosed still experience low thyroid symptoms and a gradual worsening of their symptoms despite taking medication. This is because they are not getting the autoimmune disease treatment they need. 

Approximately 90% of hypothyroidism cases in the United States are caused by Hashimoto’s, an autoimmune disease that attacks and destroys the thyroid gland. If you have hypothyroidism symptoms, it’s likely you have autoimmune Hashimoto’s.

While you still may need thyroid medications in order to function, these meds will not address the underlying autoimmune condition damaging your thyroid gland. This is why it’s important to seek out Hashimoto’s disease treatment from a physician trained in functional medicine.

For starters, it’s not sufficient to only run a blood test for TSH, as most clinics do. Instead, you need to test for TPO and TGB antibodies. If either of these is positive this means you need Hashimoto’s thyroiditis help.

At the RedRiver Health and Wellness Center, our functional medicine wellness team will help you restore balance to your immune system so it stops attacking the thyroid gland.

This is a customized approach that takes into consideration each person’s unique triggers for Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism symptoms. There are numerous approaches to treatment.

Going on a gluten-free diet

Numerous studies show a strong link between Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism and gluten, the protein found in wheat, barley, rye, spelt and other wheat-like grains. What’s more, studies also show that people who are gluten-intolerant are more prone to Hashimoto’s. Gluten also cross-reacts with the thyroid gland.

This means that if you are gluten-intolerant and have Hashimoto’s, your immune system mistakes portions of your thyroid as gluten and attacks it whenever you eat gluten. 

The AIP diet for Hashimoto’s

For some people, going gluten-free works great and improves their thyroid problems. For many others, it’s not enough and they require spending some time on the autoimmune Paleo – or AIP – diet. This is an anti-inflammatory diet that eliminates common inflammatory foods, such as dairy, eggs, soy and grains.

After a period of time on the diet, you then introduce foods you eliminated one at a time every three days to monitor for symptoms. It’s important to eat a diverse array of plenty of vegetables while on the AIP diet for Hashimoto’s so you don’t risk developing more food sensitivities due to loss of oral tolerance

Address a leaky gut

A common Hashimoto’s disease treatment is to address a leaky gut, or intestinal permeability. It’s common for leaky gut to play a role in autoimmune diseases such as Hashimoto’s thyroid problems. Leaky gut happens when the small intestine becomes inflamed and damaged, allowing undigested foods, bacteria and other foreign invaders into the bloodstream. Once in the bloodstream, these pathogens trigger inflammation and autoimmunity in other places in the body.

Balance blood sugar

Balancing blood sugar is an important autoimmune disease management strategy. Many people do not realize how unstable their blood sugar is — it is either chronically too low or too high. This is because the normal American diet is typically too high in sugars and processed carbohydrates, such as breads, pastas, pastries and desserts.

Blood sugar imbalances trigger inflammation and hormonal imbalances that make it difficult to effectively manage an autoimmune condition such as Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism. Blood sugar imbalances also cause unpleasant symptoms such as energy crashes, fatigue, excess belly fat, premenstrual syndrome and other hormone problems, mood swings and sleep issues.

These are just a few of the basics of autoimmune disease treatment for conditions such as Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism. It’s important to manage your autoimmune condition to lower your risk of developing other autoimmune diseases, such as pernicious anemia, rheumatoid arthritis, vitiligo or Type I diabetes.

To learn more about Hashimoto’s and other factors that can cause hypothyroidism, read my book “The Truth About Low Thyroid” or contact one of our functional medicine wellness centers for more information.

If you do not already have a functional medicine provider, call RedRiver Health and Wellness Center St. George at 435-767-9355 or email [email protected]

Written by JOSH REDD, RedRiver Health and Wellness Center.

• S P O N S O R E D   C O N T E N T •

About RedRiver Health and Wellness Center

One of the main goals at RedRiver Health and Wellness Center is to work with patients to improve their health, well-being and quality of life. The RedRiver Health and Wellness Center team is passionate about helping ailing patients achieve optimal health, and we truly care about the success of each and every patient.

RedRiver chiropractic physicians are great advocates for prescribing physicians and endocrinologists. In fact, many of our patients see their prescribing physicians more frequently while under our care than they would otherwise. Our goal is not to replace our patients’ primary care physicians and specialists but to complement their care by providing patients with nutrition, diet, lifestyle and educational support and strategies.

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